One of the benefits of a band with so many members is that you’ve got a lot of potential ground to cover in terms of musical style, tone, and influence. On the other hand, you can’t get them around anywhere without renting a tour aircraft carrier. Toronto’s First Rate People, formed by Jon Lawless and Liam Sanagan, have seen as many as 40 members in their electro-pop outfit, but on Everest, out next week, their vision has taken a more manageable shape. Of course that vision gets blurry from time to time in terms of style and genre, from the twee-horn indie of “Janna”, to the extended, mournful a capella section of “Dark Age”, to the slie guitar and piano balladeering of “Three Ordinary Words”, and the slinky electro-funk of “You Won’t Get This Joke At All.”
“I feel like we have consistently moved towards a more expressive and experimental version of what we did before, Sanagan said of the band’s progress since their first “Girl’s Night” single in 2010. “With this record we really developed a kind of soundscape style in our production and mixing, taking queues heavily from modern electronic music.”
As for the writing, it was all hands on deck, Sanagan says. “We had some tunes we’d already started as a group, and some we’d bring to the table as individuals to work into the album. A good number were cooked up very communally in the space with people coming in and out, staying for a day or two and trying some stuff out.”
Although the record was recorded in a little vintage outside of Toronto in the winter, it’s imbued with a sense of warmth. Perhaps keeping up the BPMs was out of necessity to stay warm. “It was the middle of the winter and we had this wood-stove to keep us warm. We’d work all day and night. The way it was built was oddly great for sound, all uneven wood surfaces.”
More from First Rate People here.
Photo by Jalani Morgan